Crum coaching an exhibition against the Dominican Republic National Team in 2011
March 2, 1937|
San Fernando, California, United States
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
2 NCAA Division I Tournament Championships
11 Metro Conference Tournament Championships
(1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995)
Gold Medal, USA World University Games (1977)
National Coach of the Year (1980, 1983, 1986)
Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 1994
College Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2006
Denzil E. "Denny" Crum (born March 2, 1937) is a former American men's college basketball coach at the University of Louisville in Kentucky from 1971 to 2001, compiling a 675–295 record. He guided the Cardinals to two NCAA championships (1980, 1986) and six Final Fours. Honored in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame since 1994, Crum is one of the major figures in the history of sports in Kentucky and in college basketball in general.
As the head coach at U of L, Crum is widely credited with pioneering the now-common strategy of scheduling tough non-conference match-ups early in the season in order to prepare his teams for March's NCAA tournament, where one defeat ends the season. Crum's prolific post-season play and calm demeanor earned him the monikers "Mr. March" and his most well-known nickname, "Cool Hand Luke."
Crum was born in San Fernando, California. From 1954–1956, Denny Crum played basketball at Los Angeles Pierce College. In 1956, he transferred to UCLA to play for John Wooden. While at UCLA, Crum was honored with the Irv Pohlmeyer Memorial Trophy for outstanding first-year varsity player. He also received the Bruin Bench Award for most improved player the following year.
After graduating in 1958, Crum served as the freshman basketball coach at UCLA. The following year, he returned to Pierce College to serve as head coach. After four years at Pierce College, Crum was rehired by Wooden as a top assistant coach and chief recruiter. As a coach at UCLA, he played a role in three NCAA titles. He remained at UCLA until his departure for Louisville in 1971.
University of Louisville, 1971–2001
In 1971, Crum was hired as head coach by the University of Louisville, taking over from John Dromo. It was under Crum that the University of Louisville became a national college basketball power. By 1972, Crum had taken his first team to the NCAA Final Four, where his team lost to John Wooden's UCLA team. Crum would go on to lead the Louisville Cardinals to five more final fours (1975, 1980, 1982, 1983, and 1986). He is tied for sixth all-time in number of final four appearances with Adolph Rupp and Tom Izzo. They rank behind John Wooden, Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, and Rick Pitino.
On March 24, 1980, the Cardinals became NCAA Tournament champions after defeating Crum's alma mater, UCLA, 59–54. Crum's 1980 national champions have been credited with popularizing the High-5. Six years later, Louisville would overcome Duke 72–69 for a second title largely because of the talented play of "Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison. Crum is one of only eleven coaches to achieve two or more national championships. In 30 seasons, Crum took the Cardinals to 23 NCAA tournaments, where they had an overall record of 43-21.
While in the Metro Conference, the Cardinals won 12 regular season titles and 11 tournament championships. In its 19 years of naming a champion, the Metro had Louisville as first or second place 17 times.
In 1993, Crum became the second fastest coach to reach 500 wins. He ranks 16th in overall Division I wins.
The graduation rate for players under Denny Crum has been called "troubling" by some sources. Basketball players enrolling at U of L between the 1988-89 and 1997-98 had a 27% graduation rate as measured by the NCAA, well under the Division 1 average of 44%.
Crum coached the 1977 USA World University Team, where he won a gold medal. In 1987, he coached the Pan American team to a silver medal.
Crum had a signature style as a coach. He usually held a rolled up program in one hand during games and would often gesture with it. At Louisville, whose team colors are red and black, Crum sometimes wore a red blazer on the sidelines.
On the court, Crum's teams were famous for running a man-to-man defense that switched on all picks. Like his mentor at UCLA, John Wooden, Crum ran the high-post offense, which emphasizes post play. From 1989 to 1996, four of Crum's post players (Pervis Ellison, Felton Spencer, Clifford Rozier, and Samaki Walker) were selected in the top 16 picks in the NBA draft, including three (all but Rozier) in the top ten. Even Crum's guards tended to score on the interior: his 1980 national championship team was known as the "Doctors of Dunk." Crum won his last national championship in 1986; the next year the NCAA introduced the three-point line to post-season play, revolutionizing the game. With outside shooting newly emphasized, Crum never returned to the Final Four.
Throughout his career, Crum was famous for superior in-game coaching. His teams tended to score immediately out of timeouts—presumably because Crum would draw up successful plays in the huddle—and play well in close games.
Crum announced on his 64th birthday that he would be retiring at the end of the season. Though Crum insisted the decision was his, it is widely rumored that Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich drove him out to pursue the newly available Rick Pitino.
Since going 26-9 and making the Elite 8 in the 1996-97 season, the Cardinals had gone 62-62, including 12-19 in 2000-01, and they hadn't reached a Final Four since 1986. There was widespread speculation that the game had passed Crum by; meanwhile, Pitino was revered as one of the hottest college coaches in the country, having left for the NBA after guiding the University of Kentucky to a national championship in 1996 and the championship game in 1997. The university, in the midst of a push to build a new arena, was under pressure to reclaim the basketball program's elite status, which made a big name like Pitino a natural choice. On the other hand, much of the criticism of Crum was directed at his perceived inability to recruit top players, and he signed a highly touted class of freshmen for 2001-02. When Pitino did take over, Crum's marquee recruits were largely dismissed or forced to transfer within his first year.
Head coaching record
In the 1980s, Crum was named National Coach of the Year three times (1980, 1983, 1986). He was awarded Metro Conference Coach of the year three times (1979, 1980, 1983). In 1980, he was also named the Sporting News Coach of the Year, the Basketball Weekly Coach of the Year, and the Basketball Weekly Man of the Year.
In 1994 Crum was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In 2002, Crum received the Legends of Coaching award given by the John R. Wooden Award Committee. This award recognizes "a coach's character, success rate on the court, graduating rate of student athletes, [and] his coaching philosophy".
On February 7, 2007, Louisville's home floor at Freedom Hall was officially named "Denny Crum Court." When the Cardinals basketball teams moved to the downtown KFC Yum! Center in 2010, the name "Denny Crum Court" was retained in the new facility.
Since 2001, Denny Crum has been married to Susan Sweeney Crum. He has three children, Cynthia and Steve from his first marriage, and Scott from his second marriage. He lives in Louisville and has a hunting ranch in Idaho.
From 2004 to 2014, Crum co-hosted a local radio talk show with former University of Kentucky head coach Joe B. Hall. Both did their portions of the show from different studios, Crum in Louisville and Hall in Lexington. The Joe B. and Denny Show was the top Fox Sports radio show in the state of Kentucky. The show, which aired on WKRD in Louisville and WVLK-FM in Lexington, was carried by 21 stations in all at its peak, and still had 16 stations when it ended on October 30, 2014 after WVLK-FM announced a format change.
Crum is still active at the University of Louisville, serving as a special assistant to university president James Ramsey and appearing at various functions with former Cardinal and pro-basketball player Darrell Griffith.
Crum founded The Denny Crum Scholarship Foundation, Inc., which awards scholarships to individuals who have demonstrated leadership, community service, and academic achievement. Requirements include: application form, high school transcript, 3.0 cumulative GPA, and a community service resume listing detailed volunteer involvement and leadership experience.
- List of college men's basketball coaches with 600 wins
- List of NCAA Men's Division I Final Four appearances by coach
- "Missouri Valley Conference Index | College Basketball at". Sports-reference.com. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
- Profile at the Wooden Award website at the Wayback Machine (archived October 26, 2006)
- The official site of the Joe B. and Denny Show - Denny Crum Bio at the Wayback Machine (archived May 2, 2008)
- "ESPN.com - NCB - The Denny Crum Legacy". Static.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
- "High five - meaning and origin". Phrases.org.uk. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
- Player Bio: Denny Crum :: Men's Basketball at the Wayback Machine (archived October 26, 2006)
- Official Website of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame - Hall of Famers at the Wayback Machine (archived October 12, 2007)
- "Readers' List: Big-game coaches". Espn.go.com. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
- "ESPN.com - NCB - Crum retiring after season". Static.espn.go.com. 2001-03-05. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
- Denny Crum's profile on Master Basketball Coaches at the Wayback Machine (archived November 3, 2007)
- Wooden Award - Athletics at the Wayback Machine (archived May 4, 2008)
- "Crum's legacy comes full circle with dedication of court - Men's College Basketball - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
- "Court at KFC Yum! Center still honors Crum | The Courier-Journal". courier-journal.com. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
- "Pierce College Athletic60th". Info.piercecollege.edu. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
- [dead link]
- Story, Mark (October 30, 2014). "For Joe B. and Denny, a bittersweet end to their radio days". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- The official site of the Joe B. and Denny Show - About The Show at the Wayback Machine (archived April 8, 2008)
- Daniel Negreanu. "Denny Crum - Poker Player Profile". Pokerpages.com. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
- Denny Crum's Profile at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 2007)